Colaba fire: Firemen didn't believe that man was trapped, alleges girlfriend
Friends of Shyam Aiyyar, 54, say firemen did not heed their pleas to save the investment banker who was stuck on the third floor
In another case of blatant negligence, a resident of Colaba's Churchill Chambers, which went up in flames on Sunday, died as fire officials refused to believe that he was stuck inside. His friends said even though the fire brigade reached the spot on time, they took two hours to get the equipment required for the rescue operation. Over and above this, when deceased Shyam Aiyyar's girlfriend asked the officials to rescue him, they said everyone had been rescued.
Speaking to mid-day, Chaiti Narula, a senior media person, said, "Though the fire brigade got there on time, it took two hours for their equipment to arrive. When Pooja, Shyam's girlfriend, asked the firemen to rescue him from the third floor, they didn't believe her. Then one of our friends — Kaizad Bhabha — rushed upstairs to rescue him. But by the time he reached, he found Shyam dead. We will take this up with the authorities concerned, as no one should die due to the apathy of the fire brigade and civic body. There are many buildings in South Bombay that needs immediate attention in terms of fire safety standards. We won't let those at fault get away easily."
Shyam's friends alleged that the equipment required in the rescue operation arrived almost two hours after the fire brigade reached the spot. Pic/Atul Kamble
When contacted, Pooja said, "I kept asking them to rescue Shyam but they refused. They said everyone had been rescued. Kaizad was forced to go upstairs but Shyam had died by then. Everything happened so fast. I'm still trying to process it."
One of the residents of the adjoining building, Rohit Kadam, said, "Firemen started looking for Shyam when they realised that one person was missing. When I went upstairs with them, he was found unconscious in a corner." The firemen then rushed him to GT Hospital, where he was declared dead. A hospital source said, "He had severe burn injuries but he died due to the excessive smoke he had inhaled."
A release from the fire department says, "Shyam went into his flat to douse the flames and got trapped inside. Later he was found in a severely injured condition on the third floor." However, Divisional Fire Officer Anil Parab said, "There was no delay on our part. We had all the required equipment. The moment we got to know that Shyam was missing, we rushed to the spot to rescue him. We found him in a very bad condition. We are still in the process of finding out how many people are missing."
'Not fair to blame us'
When contacted, PS Rahangdale, chief fire officer, said, "There were four rooms on the third floor and Shyam's was located right at the end. To reach the spot we had to douse the flames in the passage as well. Whoever was stuck there has been rescued. When Pooja told me about Shyam, I also went up looking for him. We did our best but he died even before we could reach the spot. It isn't fare to blame us."
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